The Raising of Lazarus.* 1Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,a the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill. 3So the sisters sent word to him, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” 4When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death,* but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”b 5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?”c 9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day,d he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.e 10But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”* 11He said this, and then told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” 12So the disciples said to him, “Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.” 13But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.f 14So then Jesus said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died. 15And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him.” 16So Thomas, called Didymus,* said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.”g
17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles* away. 19And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.h 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.i 22[But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” 24Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”j 25Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,k 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27* l She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
28When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” 29As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him. 30For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him. 31So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed* and deeply troubled, 34and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” 35And Jesus wept.m 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” 37But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?”
38So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father,* I thank you for hearing me. 42I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”n 43And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice,* “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”
Session of the Sanhedrin. 45Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.o 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.p 48If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come* and take away both our land and our nation.” 49q But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year,* said to them, “You know nothing, 50nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” 51He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.* 53So from that day on they planned to kill him.r
54So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim,* and there he remained with his disciples.
The Last Passover. 55Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify* themselves.s 56They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?” 57For the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should inform them, so that they might arrest him.
* [11:1–44] The raising of Lazarus, the longest continuous narrative in John outside of the passion account, is the climax of the signs. It leads directly to the decision of the Sanhedrin to kill Jesus. The theme of life predominates. Lazarus is a token of the real life that Jesus dead and raised will give to all who believe in him. Johannine irony is found in the fact that Jesus’ gift of life leads to his own death. The story is not found in the synoptics, but cf. Mk 5:21 and parallels; Lk 7:11–17. There are also parallels between this story and Luke’s parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus (Lk 16:19–31). In both a man named Lazarus dies; in Luke, there is a request that he return to convince his contemporaries of the need for faith and repentance, while in John, Lazarus does return and some believe but others do not.
* [11:4] Not to end in death: this is misunderstood by the disciples as referring to physical death, but it is meant as spiritual death.
* [11:10] The light is not in him: the ancients apparently did not grasp clearly the entry of light through the eye; they seem to have thought of it as being in the eye; cf. Lk 11:34; Mt 6:23.
* [11:16] Called Didymus: Didymus is the Greek word for twin. Thomas is derived from the Aramaic word for twin; in an ancient Syriac version and in the Gospel of Thomas (80:11–12) his given name, Judas, is supplied.
* [11:18] About two miles: literally, “about fifteen stades”; a stade was 607 feet.
* [11:27] The titles here are a summary of titles given to Jesus earlier in the gospel.
* [11:33] Became perturbed: a startling phrase in Greek, literally, “He snorted in spirit,” perhaps in anger at the presence of evil (death).
* [11:41] Father: in Aramaic, “abba”. See note on Mk 14:36.
* [11:43] Cried out in a loud voice: a dramatization of Jn 5:28; “the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice.”
* [11:48] The Romans will come: Johannine irony; this is precisely what happened after Jesus’ death.
* [11:49] That year: emphasizes the conjunction of the office and the year. Actually, Caiaphas was high priest A.D. 18–36. The Jews attributed a gift of prophecy, sometimes unconscious, to the high priest.
* [11:52] Dispersed children of God: perhaps the “other sheep” of Jn 10:16.
* [11:54] Ephraim is usually located about twelve miles northeast of Jerusalem, where the mountains descend into the Jordan valley.
* [11:55] Purify: prescriptions for purity were based on Ex 19:10–11, 15; Nm 9:6–14; 2 Chr 30:1–3, 15–18.
a. [11:1–2] 12:1–8; Lk 10:38–42; 16:19–31.
d. [11:9–10] 12:35; 1 Jn 2:10.
j. [11:24] 5:29; 6:39–40, 44, 54; 12:48; Is 2:2; Mi 4:1; Acts 23:8; 24:15.
k. [11:25] 5:24; 8:51; 14:6; Dn 12:2.
p. [11:47] 12:19; Mt 26:3–5; Lk 22:2; Acts 4:16.
r. [11:53] 5:18; 7:1; Mt 12:14.
s. [11:55] 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; 18:28; Ex 19:10–11, 15; Nm 9:6–14; 19:12; Dt 16:6; 2 Chr 30:1–3, 15–18.